Bangladesh—Eco Symbol?

While Western policymakers direct their focus toward mitigating carbon emissions, Bangladesh is one of the few countries to accept the inevitability of climate change and start tackling adaption head-on. Once the very symbol of backwardness—an ‘international basket case’ in Henry Kissinger’s infamous words—today’s Bangladesh may well soon be leading the way into a shared future of climate insecurity. Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London, says Bangladesh, with its relatively high levels of education and a burgeoning awareness of climate change issues, was well placed to establish a ‘comparative advantage’ in adaptation research. ‘Over the course of the next ten years, this is where the world will learn how to deal with climate change,’ he says. ‘This is ground zero.’

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